The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that it would promptly intervene in humanitarian crises and disaster issues across the country, just as it promised to ensure that adequate funds are earmarked for all such critical interventions in the annual budget.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, who gave the assurance, predicated it on the creation of the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Delivering a goodwill message at the international workshop on “Improving Civil-Security Cooperation (CISEC) in Humanitarian Interventions in the North East” in Maiduguri, organised by the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Agba said at the level of inter-ministerial collaboration, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning would ensure adequate funds were provided to the ministry to deliver on its mandates.
He commended the wisdom in the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to carve out a full-fledged Ministry that is hoisted on the tripod of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development amid public misconception of the philosophy and strategy of the federal government.
According to Agba, “For those who had hitherto accused the administration of insensitivity and irresponsibility, it is now very clear that they misconceived, misperceived and misconstrued the essential philosophy and strategy of the administration in responding to the rash of insurgents’ attacks on soft civilian targets after they (Boko Haram insurgents) had been technically degraded.
“To be sure, the new omnibus Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, which will, in particular, drive the humanitarian interventions in the North East, represents a clear and articulate government’s response.
“The minister in charge, who is a Business Administrator and a round peg in a round hole, is trusted to run the affairs of the ministry as a ‘profitable business’ that will benefit the victims of crises and disasters in the context of keeping fidelity to the Social Contract between the government and the people.”
He said that as a government, like other governments globally, that was vulnerable to issues of force majeure and act of God, “we will henceforth build on the foundation of the administrative infrastructure that had been set up to respond appropriately and expeditiously to crises and disasters.”
Describing the theme and focus of the workshop as very germane and clear, Agba said they centred on the issues of humanitarian interventions as key deliverables in the context of civil-security cooperation in the North East crises.
According to him, “They are also very apt for responding to the post-insurgency era in which we have found ourselves as a nation,” adding that “the exigencies of responding to the humanitarian crises in the North East zone of the country through strategic policy initiatives and coordinated administrative measures were, no doubt, largely instrumental to the idea of creating the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.”
He said that the setting up of the ministry was indicative of the President’s concern for the plight of Nigerians, “more especially those who are here in the North East zone, who have been very largely affected by the humanitarian crises occasioned by the Boko Haram insurgency.”
The minister stated further that “as a measure of the President’s pan-Nigeria disposition, the Ministry has been structured and hoisted on a tripod of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development all of which are targeted at every nook and cranny of the country to cater to our national diversity.
“Just as Boko Haram-induced humanitarian crises are within the purview of the schedules of the Ministry; so also are the issues of disaster management and social development, which have positive ramifications for every part of the country.”
He tasked the workshop participants to come up with workable ideas and recommendations on improving civil-security cooperation in humanitarian interventions that would assist the minister to drive the necessary implementation of the Ministry’s overarching mandates in the interest of the nation.